Tuesday, February 25, 2014

THE WORLD OF BOOK REVIEWS

I received a rejection last week.  Aaargh!

From Amazon.

They rejected a book review I wrote for Amber Stokes' novel Forget Me Not.




 I was stunned. 

How can they do that? 

They sent me the list of their book review guidelines.  (I didn't even realize that there were such things)  But what puzzled me was I had met all the guidelines.  They did have a reference number so I was able to email them and ask why. They did answer back and said I had a personal relationship with her so they felt the review would be biased. How they knew that she was my editor and publicist is beyond me. But she has plenty of great reviews so I am not too concerned. Personally, I think that God knew I was going to write this post about book reviews and made sure I had the guidelines.  He does have a sense of humor.

So please note that there are guidelines to writing a book review on Amazon. I also write reviews on Goodreads, Barnes and Noble and christianbooks.com.    When I write a review, I copy the first one and then just paste into the others. Saves bunches of time.

So that being said, I want to talk about the world of book reviews that I discovered through my publicist, Amber Stokes. When my books were released, she set up cover reveals and blog tours. I had no idea there were so many wonderful bloggers out there giving the most remarkable book reviews on their websites and/or blog sites.  I have interviewed several of them and asked them how they got started and why they feature book reviews. I found their reasons varied and interesting.

Rachelle Rea has an excellent website for book reviews called Inspiring Daring.




Rachelle says: It all began quite organically, really. I love books, so when I realized my blog could be a place to write about the books I've read recently, I ran with it! I believe my first reviews may have been written for Kindred Grace's annual March of Books...which is coming up, actually! Receiving emails from authors interested in providing me with review copies in exchange for honest reviews is pretty neat. When that started happening, I realized how powerful book reviews really are in the ever-changing world of publicity and book promoting. To be able to contribute is a wonderful thing--because it means I'm supporting authors I enjoy and enabling them to write more!

GUIDE FOR WRITING BOOK REVIEWS IN BLOGS

On RACHELLE'S site she has one of the best guides for writing book reviews  for blogs or websites that I have encountered.  This guide also includes a list of publishers that she reviews for with links to their sites. So if you think you might like to write reviews check this out. Great info Rachelle.  Thank you.

Kav is a regular on Seekerville. I knew she was a librarian, but I didn't know she reviewed books on her blog Best Reads.   Here is what she says about reviewing books:




Reader feedback motivates me. I've had people tell me that they'll buy a book if I like it, that they check my blog for books to add to their TBR pile. I've had people email me with requests for recommendations for books on a particular topic. That kind of thing sets my librarian heart to pitter-pattering. I can't tell you how much I LOVE sharing about books!
I'm an emotional reader so I try to convey what engaged my emotions. What grabbed me and kept me reading. What was swoonworthy about the hero or how the heroine drove me so crazy I wanted to throw the book across the room (only of course I would never do that!) Why my blood pressure will never be the same after reading a suspense, why I'd recommend a box of Kleenex with the purchase of a certain book. I guess I try to express my gut reaction to a really good read.


Renee (Steelergirl) has a wonderful blogsite for reviews Black 'N Gold Girl's Book Spot. She has links that show who she reviews for and also has a disclosure policy that is very professional.



 Renee writes:  My blog came about since I needed a way to discuss and share stories I loved with a bigger audience of like-minded people. Sometimes you just have to dish with someone who will listen, “Did she REALLY do that? How about that hero? Dreeeeeammmmmy! Le sigh. I couldn’t believe that kiss!!!”



I try to write honest and helpful reviews, I think readers and authors appreciate that. I also like to mix it up a bit and keep it fun. My blog has evolved from the book review blog that I originally started with to include some of my other interests. You might find a Christian romance book review followed by a Doctor Who or Sherlock “geek girl” post later that same day! I’m such a dork, but that’s me and I love sharing that on my small part of the Interweb.




Alyssa Faith has a book review blog called Literary and Lace.  










Her story of how she started writing reviews is kind of like my story of how I started writing. We both started while responding to an assignment from a university class. Alyssa writes:  



What inspired me to create a blog that features book reviews is actually an interesting story. It all started in my junior year of high school, I had just transferred to an independent study program in my area. After talking with my teacher she discovered I had a love of books and reading. She told about a course I could take to get English credits and it was a course consisting of reading books and writing reviews. And that is where it started. I started my current blog, Literary and Lace, in March of 2013. And through blogging and Twitter I have become good friends with other fellow bloggers. What keeps me blogging is my love of books and wanting to support the authors. Over time I have become friends with many authors in the industry and because of those friendships I have an eagerness to support them.



Brooke M. has an interesting story of how she got started with her blog I Blog 4 Books.  I love her quote "so many books...so little time". Don't we all feel that way?  Here is her story:



Well, my story is probably a little different than many. In 2010, my pastor challenged our church to sacrifice anything and everything we possibly could for one year in order to spend that money on advancing the gospel around the world. My husband and I had only been married for a few months and didn’t feel like we had much “extra” to sacrifice, but we took a close look at our finances and evaluated everything. It was hard, but we made three changes—turn off the cable, limit (significantly) how much we ate out, and stop buying books.

Seriously? Stop buying books? I wasn’t sure I could do it (or that I even wanted to!), but I committed to refrain from purchasing books for the entire year. I dusted off my library card and was ready to go. A few weeks later, a friend told me about Thomas Nelson's BookSneeze program where bloggers receive free books in exchange for posting reviews online. I thought it would be a fun to get a few free books and share my thoughts about them. A few months later, I started i blog 4 books, my “book blog.” Four years later, I’m still at it—reviewing books, meeting new friends, interacting with authors, and enjoying a hobby I didn't even know existed!

While I originally started blogging simply to get free books, I quickly realized that there was more to it than that for me. I primarily review Christian fiction and enjoy spreading the word about books that are clean, well-written, and point people to God. 
(And by the way . . . I did start buying books again after my one-year moratorium on book buying. I just try to limit myself to only buy ones I'm dying to read!)


Ann Lee Miller writes reviews on her site My Two Cents Worth for practical reasons. She wanted a venue to publicize her own books and what she does works for her. Here's what she says when asked why she writes reviews:



Laziness! Even though there's no consensus about whether blogging helps book sales, I wanted to blog Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. But I didn't want to steal precious fiction-writing hours from my schedule. Since I read a couple novels a week and have years' worth of titles floating around in the gray matter of my brain--I thought, why not post reviews? Very short reviews that take five or so minutes to write. Readers who like the books are potential readers of my books. Busy people prefer short reviews. Win, win, win.

Hits on my website drastically increased and stay healthy as I blog. My book sales are steady. It's fun when readers occasionally comment on the blog or on Facebook about a book review.

I post my reviews on my personal Facebook page and my author Facebook page once for each blog post. I schedule tweets every two hours viaHootsuite.com seven days a week--advertising the current blog. All that tweeting sounds obnoxious, but apparently it's accepted in Twitterdom. When I don't tweet, my daily website hits drop from several hundred to double digits. I have about 5,500 Twitter followers.


Tammy Shelnut writes a lovely blog Bluerose's Heart. Here is why she started blogging book reviews:




I was tired of reading books that were full of "bad" content, so I started blogging as a way to help others find clean reads, and give content ratings. Plus, the free books were extra motivation! ;)  I enjoy the interaction with other bloggers that love books as much as me. I have a hard time convincing my "real life" family/friends of the complete joy of getting lost in a great read. It's always a joy to pick up a book that another blogger has recommended!   It's also always a joy to get to recommend a book that I loved, especially when another reader adds a book to their "favorites" list because of it.


And Virginia Carmichael Munoz on her site The Things That Last will occasionally write a book review. She featured LOVE'S MIRACLES and I thought did an outstanding job.  She has also featured Tina, KC Frantzen and others. 



Virginia says the reason she writes reviews is:  I don't think I could have a blog that DOESN'T feature book reviews. Books are such a big part of my life that it would be weird to blog about something and never mention a book. Even when I blog about food over on Yankee Belle Café, we still end up discussing books.
Something I really love is meeting people who love the same books I do. We all know how subjective reading is, and how two close friends can completely disagree on which books are "the best". So, it's such a treat to meet people who swoon over the same books I do, who admire how the author worked such a difficult plot point or how they were completely surprised at the same place I was. That's a huge bonus of doing book reviews- meeting the people who love the same books.


If you follow Seekerville at all you know Vince and probably love him as much as we do. He does have a blog that features some of the best reviews I've ever read.  Please be advised that if you go to his blog Philosophy of Romance you will have to go to past blog posts as he has been extremely busy with a project these past two months. In fact, we are very fortunate to get these words of wisdom, but he needed a break. smile




When asked why he writes reviews he answered:   It has been said that the best way to learn anything is to teach it. Writing reviews is like teaching. First, you have to understand the material before you can present it well to someone else. 

I also thought that Romance, as a genre, has not been given the respect it deserves by the academic establishment. I wanted to give excellent romance novels the respect they deserved. I also wanted to review them as I would the most serious literature.  Yay Vince.
I don’t think any other authors work as hard on their craft as romance authors do. Romance has a ‘contest’ culture. Romance writers have always been in a ‘continuous improvement’ mode of operation. They were doing TQM long before it came into vogue.
Lastly, I wanted to learn how to write romances. The best way to teach myself how to do this was to read and review the best romances I could find. I wanted to ‘look under the hood’. For example, what I like best about Mark Twain, is also what I like best about Mary Connealy. While authors have a ‘voice’, they also have what I call a ‘talent print’ – a way their talent is expressed. This ‘talent print’ is part of the voice but it is not the voice.
Janet Dean writes the most crystal clear prose I’ve encountered since the Norwegian poet Tarjei Vasaas -- who I feel was the master of this talent. (As a copywriter, ‘crystal clear’ – is the gold standard.) 
My reviews try to find what the author does better than anyone else and then to show this with examples. My reviews are best directed to other authors who are still building their craft skills. Ruth Logan Herne writes books that  have so much good stuff going on under the hood, it is hard to choose what to talk about.   
A good review will direct the right readers to the books they would most enjoy reading. 
For example, Debby Giusti’s Military theme romances are extremely well developed in four threads: the romance, the inspirational, the mystery, and the suspense elements. All four threads are complete. Debby is the only writer I know who weaves all four of these separate story elements into one story while, at the same time, employing the setting or nature herself to act as a mirror to reflect the story action like an orchestra giving a full bodied resonance to the virtuosos playing on the stage.  I always feel that plotting one of Debby’s stories would take longer than writing it. Reading her books is like watching a juggler keeping ten knives in the air at the same time. It keeps this writer on the edge of his seat. 
As for my motivation being heightened at times. Oh, yes, sometimes a new author writes me saying how  my review lifted her spirits and how it gave her encouragement to go on. This is especially so when the review was able to put a spotlight on the areas in the book of singular excellence. There has to be this proof or else the review is just flattery that will soon dissipate into the mist of memory. 
(This folks is exactly what happened to me. One of Vince's reviews came at time I most needed it-smile) Thank you Vince.  If that isn't enough reason to write a review, I don't know what is.  


And of course there is Amber Stokes  where I started in this wonderful world of book reviews. Amber has a wonderful website called Seasons of Humility that includes a page for book reviews. Interestingly enough she started because of a university assignment also. And she contacted Renee for advice on getting started.  Consequently, Amber has some great advice especially if you are interested in getting started.



Amber says:


It takes time to get your name out there, whether as a blogger, an author, a businessperson, or what-have-you. One of the most helpful ways to spread the word is by hosting giveaways. Yes, it takes investment, but giveaways/freebies are especially effective in attracting attention, although it will still take time and effort to build up interest in those, as well. Another especially helpful way to spread the word is by taking the time to meet other bloggers. Follow other blogs, comment on their posts, and build friendships with them. Not only will that generally result in them taking an interest in you and your blog, but it will also lead to something even more important: real relationships. The joy of book blogging is in the discussion, in the shared passion for stories and the challenge of exchanging ideas.


There are several things I’ll often discuss in a review: whether or not the characters are authentic and/or endearing, the setting drew me in, the plot kept me engaged, and the writing impressed me. I especially like to convey those times when a book resonates with me—when something unique about the story charms me, and when the story as a whole affects me and touches me deeply. If a book makes me cry or feel some sort of strong emotion, I take that as a sign of gifted storytelling. I like to provide summary statements, usually emphasizing the story’s strengths, what other readers might also enjoy about it, and the take-away message/value. But I also think it’s important to note the things that readers might not care for. For much of my blog audience, that would include crude language and sexual content, in addition to noting when the plot is slow, the characters are frustrating or unrealistic, etc. I believe in looking for and sharing the good in a book, but I also highly value honesty in reviews—thereby finding a balance between being encouraging but also helpful to both the reader and the author.


Here are some other sites that participated in my blog tour:

Flowers of Quiet Happiness

The Curried Nut

Edgy Inspirational Romance

My Favorite Pastime

Tell The World

The Wonderings of One Person / all about books

Buzzing About Books


Come Meet Ausjenny

I also want to thank our friend Marianne Barkman who faithfully writes reviews for Goodreads and Amazon.  


A little birdie named Virginia told that these Seekerville friends also have book review sites:

Books I've Read

Inspirational Historical Fiction Index



So Seekerville and friends.  
Do you look at book reviews before ordering a book?  
How much weight do you give them in selecting a book?  
What do you look for in a book review?  
Do you have any great book review sites that you like to follow?  
Do you write book reviews?

Answer any of these questions and be in the drawing for a Seeker ebook of your choice. (Or if you want a print copy, you can have your choice of one of mine or one of Julie's Romance-ology 101)

I have provided a platter of fresh fruits (peeled and sliced already) so you don't have an excuse. :)
There are still oranges on my tree, apples, pineapple, mango, strawberries, cherries, blueberries and raspberries.  

I still have free audio copies of LOVE'S MIRACLES and LOVE'S REFUGE if you are interested in doing a review in audible.com.  They don't have guidelines yet, but they have about 4 or 5 set questions they ask and they suggest you answer in 15 words or less. It is pretty easy.  The reason audible doesn't carry over reviews from Amazon books is that the narrator is also rated.  I discovered in my own listening that this makes a big difference in whether you like a book or not.




If you want a free copy of an audio use my contact form on my website at sandraleesmith.com
You only need to fill in your email address and in the subject put free audio.  


Have a great day.

 And get those fingers ready for Speedbo.

Sign up here.



146 comments :

  1. Sandra, thanks for the awesome lists for leaving reviews. I will print them out. I had one rejected by DeeperShopping. Need to go back to that one and see why, this is a great post to start the week. Thanks

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  2. Hi Sandra! I feel like such a slouch because I haven't been able to keep up with my online buddies. Oh, what y'all must think of me...

    I had never thought about having guidelines for reviews. Guess I need to check those references out.

    I did sign up for Speedbo. I'm looking forward to writing with y'all. I'm working on my first novella in a three series contract I have. (Yes, it's my first official sale.) So if you guys don't hear from me too often, I give you permission to harass me. You know, Facebook, Twitter, Email...

    Since it's just after midnight and I haven't gone to bed, I think I'll save the yummy food for everyone in the more normal morning times.

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  3. Thanks so much Sandra for featuring Literary and Lace! I really appreciate it! Also I need to check out Speedbo. I've begun my first novella and I need some program to give that kick in the pants I need. :)

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  4. Hi, Sandra! It's so fun to read the responses from my fellow bloggers. Even though the responses are so different, the love of books unites us all! It's so wonderful.

    I didn't know that Amazon rejected reviews! Most of mine are published instantly after I click submit. I'm always careful to disclose that I get books for free, but I'm going to have to make doubly sure I do it in the future.

    Thanks again Sandra and Seekerville for featuring my blog. :)

    Xoxo,
    Renee C.

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  5. DIANNA!!!!! whoooooot!!!!! WHOOOOOTTTTT!!!!! WAAAAAHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOTTTTTT!!!!!!

    I'm so excited for you! Happy dancing in upstate, that's just like the BEST NEWS!!!!!

    Cue the streamers! Bring on more mimosas! We have a sale to celebrate!!!!!

    Sandra, this is very insightful. Wow, you went to the mattresses for this one and it's a great inside look at blogging/reviews with a wide variety of opinions and styles. Thank you for this!

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  6. COFFEE IS HERE!!!! ALONG WITH A WIDE VARIETY OF SWEET CREAMERS AND... DARK CHOCOLATE TOBANI SYRUP.

    Yes.

    I love youse THAT MUCH!!!!

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  7. I actually write book reviews for Harlequin Junkie and for my own website, Copywrite1985. I do read book reviews before ordering, particularly for self-published to make sure they aren't poorly written and full of typos. I look for trends in the reviews that I read to try and figure out which are true and which may be malicious or overgenerous. Ultimately, though, if there's an excerpt or preview available, I give that the most weight.

    I review mostly romance novels, and I look for 5 main criteria:
    -Characters I care about
    -Believable impediment to them being together
    -Unique ways of bringing them together for the magic to happen
    -A sweet reveal of their feeling for each other (or dramatic, or whatever way fits the story and makes me sigh a big satisfied sigh)
    -Make me feel as if I haven't missed the best parts of their story (in other words, can I trust them not to muck it up when I leave them? Do I really believe they'll live happily ever after despite life's many challenges?)

    Everything else is variable. I'm looking to add more reviews of Christian and clean romances, so if anyone knows of any authors or publishers seeking these reviews, please share.

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  8. Hi MARIANNE, It is amazing how many blogs are out there about reviews. I think its wonderful. You can find some really interesting reads this way.

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  9. What a great post!

    Yes, I read book reviews. I once heard that 4 out of 5 starts was the recommended review to look at. But if I really like a book, I always give it 5 stars.

    There are some books I'll buy without reading the review because it's written by one of my favorite authors.

    I'm definitely participating in Speedbo. I hope to be ready by Saturday to start! See you all there!

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  10. DIANNA wooooo whoooooooooo!!!!!

    CONGRATULATIONS. Party time.

    Now all these reviewers will have a new book to read. Me too.

    YAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!

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  11. Hi ALYSSA, Wow you are writing your first novella? WOOO HOOOOOO!!!

    Lots to celebrate this morning. What great news. And now after all the reviewing you've done, you have a good idea of what makes a super great read.

    Go Girl. yippee

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  12. Hi RENEE, (Steelergirl83) You make a good point. If you get a book for free for the purpose of a review you always need to say that. Personally I don't know what difference that makes. But if that's what they want????? sigh

    I had disclosed that btw. I don't know how they knew we know each other except maybe because Amber does a lot of the work on Kindle for the two books I self-published.

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  13. Goodness RUTHY did I forget the coffee??? Thank you for coming to the rescue. I am glad youse love us this much. I need the coffee.

    And with chocolate syrup. Yum I'm good to go this morning.

    Hey, I ordered some Krispy cremes. I know we should stick to the fruit, but warm Krispy cremes can't be turned down. smile

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  14. MZ ZEYZEY Morning. So what is the link to your site for book reviews. I could find Harlequin Junkie but couldn't find Copywrite 1985.

    Or do you have a different name for your website?

    Please share. And if you click to Rachelle Rea's guidelines, she lists publishers who offer books for review.

    Any of us here in Seekerville have Christian and clean reads you are welcome to read and review. A lot of our friends that share here in Seekerville have been published and have great books to review.

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  15. MS ZEY ZEY - Forgot to mention you have a good point to look at the previews of a book. That at least gives you an idea if you like their writing style.

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  16. Go JACKIE. I'm glad you are entering Speedbo. Way to go.

    I've never heard the suggestion to look at 4 star reviews, but you're the second person to mention that.

    I tend to give five stars if I like the book enough to go in and take the time to write a review on Amazon. But maybe I need to rethink that.

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  17. Nice post on writing reviews! I loved seeing so many of my lovely friends featured :D

    I only had trouble submitting a review on amazon once before, and what I did was I waited a day and changed a few lines and it was accepted, but before that I had no idea that amazon could be so picky!

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  18. Hi FAYE, Thanks for the suggestion. I think I will try that. In the form letter rejection they said to read the guidelines and resubmit. But then when I sent in the request, their reason would still be the same. But it would be interesting to try it out. smile What can I lose? Another rejection. LOL

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  19. Great post Sandra. I love your books. I don't think I'm very good at writing reviews, although I'm trying to be better about posting reviews for books since hanging around Seekerville. Unfortunately, I'm a bit behind on posting reviews. Is it a good thing when you get notes that others have found your review helpful?

    I can see how Amazon thought you were too intwined with Amber to accept your review of her book. I guess they DO pay attention to who helps with creating a self-pubbed book. I think they probably err on the side of caution if they think too much "back-scratching" is going on between people to help each other's sales. Even though WE know that isn't happening, the powers-that-be at Amazon are probably a bit jaded or cynical.

    I like reviews that speak to how the reader felt about the characters. People who do a complete rehash of the back cover blurb... not helpful to me. I usually completely disregard one star reviews because I've noticed they are usually hurtful in tone (like the person is some literary snob who was annoyed they didn't find perfection).

    I do look at reviews for books that appear to be self-pubbed or are "bargin-bin" price. If people comment on editing issues, I'll skip the book (unless it's free and the other comments say it was a good story if one can ignore edit problems).

    I don't read reviews of Seekerville author books because I already know those books are well worth my money. Ditto for the authors Seekerville invites to share.

    This is a very interesting post and informative. I think it will help me with doing my reviews in the future.

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  20. Hi DEB H, I'm glad this will help you. I thought it interesting that the word count for Amazon is low. I think a lot of people write too much on Amazon reviews. Most people just look at the stars. And I really don't like it if they give away part of the story that will ruin it for the reader.

    But blogs reviews are another matter. I love all the detail that goes into their comments. They really show they thought carefully about all the work that goes into a book. Authors appreciate that.

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  21. Sandra and Zey Zey, that is a great point. Looking at the previews is a good sampling to see if you like it!

    Which says our opening chapter should be tight, taut, quick and thought-provoking.

    Ooops.

    BETTER GO WORK!!!! :)

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  22. Zey Zey, I tried to comment on that great and wonderful and marvelous post you did the other day about the readers' luncheon in Florida but I couldn't post. Wordpress stopped me.

    What did I do wrong?

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  23. Thanks RUTHY,

    I have trouble with wordpress sometimes also. I really like their sites, but they make it difficult to post. Password stuff and all.

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  24. Interesting that Amazon wouldn't post your review, Sandra. Like every author doesn't have at least one relative or friend who post a review?! Duh!!!

    There is one thing I hate about reviewing on websites -- most require a title for your review. Puleeeeze...it's hard enough to figure out a title for my wip but to have to create three or four review titles a week. Argh!

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  25. Hi Sandra

    I'm definitely going to print out this post. I write reviews occasionally, usually for first novels because I know those reviews are most needed and I always buy the book I review.

    I read reviews and find them helpful.

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  26. One of the best advice about reviewing I ever heard was: Review what you read, not what you wanted to have read.

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  27. Interesting problem KAV. Can't you just use the title of the book you are reviewing? I know what you mean about titles. My hubby usually helps me with mine. He has come up with some great ones. However, the publishers always change them. LOL

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  28. Dianna! Congratulations on your first sale!!!!

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  29. Thanks ELAINE, It is nice to know that the time and effort we take to write reviews is meaningful and helpful. Thanks. Happy reading.

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  30. TINA, huh? How do you review what you haven't read? Oh well. I guess paid reviewers do that.

    Good point. smile

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  31. Morning all!

    How TIMELY, as Vince posted the
    most.
    amazing.
    review.
    on May's 3rd book yesterday.

    I was speechless for awhile. Thanks again, Vince. You TOTALLY get it.

    Thanks too for many others I now recognize in this post, thanks to Amber.

    As a reader, I definitely check reviews before purchasing products and services online. In this era, those reviews act as word of mouth. There's no way to know about a book/author or product unless you have some experience yourself.

    To be honest, I read the lowest reviews first, just to see. More often than not, I will buy the product because I completely disagree with the reviewer's conclusion. This is especially true of books. (I'm thinking of some reviews Melanie received for The Healer's Apprentice.) A reviewer might state that the book had a surprise Christian element or there wasn't enough *ahem* "heat" - well, good! That's just what I like to read.

    Honest reviews are so appreciated too. Not only a 5* I love it, but 4* with what the reader liked and didn't think was well-developed or didn't make sense means so much too. If warranted, it's an excellent way to improve on the next books.

    eBay got me into leaving reviews years ago, and that translated into book reviews. (I'm soooo far behind though in finishing and leaving some for folks here... ACK! And I signed up for Speedbo? Seriously?!)

    Now that I'm an author, I realize just how IMPORTANT those are, so thanks to all who take time to think about and write honest reviews.

    Informative post, Sandra. Thanks! Pass the coffee. I'm in need!

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  32. YAY Dianna!!!

    Wow Tina, that's heavy for the morning... But true!

    Off to work I go, after the coffee. Later FURiends!!

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  33. Hey, Sandra!!! Great blog post! Reviews do really help writers! I appreciate good reviewers. Part of the reason is because a bad reviewer can really hurt my sales! LOL! So good reviewers are doubly, triply important and appreciated! :-)

    Have to say, Vince, I love your hat! Orange Beach, Alabama is pretty awesome. My girls are going there in a week and a half for a Christian Youth conference.

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  34. Congrats, Diana!!! :-) First sales are amazing!!! Bring on the Speedbo!!!

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  35. What a great list of book review blogs, SANDRA! I recognize several who have been gracious enough to read and review my books.

    And I agree--I love those blog reviews that go into more depth about why they did or didn't like certain aspects of the book. They're so much more meaningful than a simple recap of the story.

    DIANNA! Congratulations on your novella contract!!!

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  36. HI KC, Oh how exciting that VINCE wrote a review. His reviews are precious because he won't write one unless he really, really likes the book.

    You're right that some negatives are good points like it isn't steamy enough. LOL

    Thanks for sharing and best wishes in SPeedbo

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  37. Hi MELANIE, yes, I don't think people realize how important reviews are. Good reviews. Amazon advertises books (even self-pubbed) books based on star reviews.

    And yes, triply is a word now. chuckle. Wouldn't ya think?

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  38. Hi MYRA, Yes, I read reviews of your book on some of those sites. Great reviewers and bloggers out there. smile


    Ha a great day.

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  39. Ooops I meant have a great day, MYRA. I was typing too fast.

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  40. Thanks for sharing this! I had no idea Amazon had guidelines for reviews. I just started writing book reviews in January, and I've been surprised at how many extra hits my blog gets because of them.

    I never actively seek out reviews before reading a book, but I can say that I've chosen NOT to read a book after coming upon a review where a book was presented in a negative light. However, I only pay attention to reviews where the reviewer has stated her opinion politely. I don't like it when the reviewer sounds like she's attacking the author or the book itself.

    Thanks again for this information; I'm going to check out some of these other reviewers' sites and see what they're doing. :)

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  41. Hi JENNIFER, I agree with you about avoiding or not paying attention to reviews that are just plain nasty. If someone doesn't like a book I want to know why, but it better sound honest and reasonable.

    But if a book has a lot of great reviews and one or two bad ones then I don't even pay attention to those. We all have different tastes and like mentioned earlier someone may not like a Christian element or one that is too steamy. That is personal preference. smile

    Thanks for sharing and have a great day.

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  42. I'm a huge fan of book reviews. My budget doesn't allow me to buy every book on my wishlist, so reviews help me figure out which ones to splurge on.
    I also review books at alwaysreadingblog.blogspot.com.
    Thanks for sharing all of those blogs!

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  43. Wow, Sandra. Wow and double wow. This post is so chock full of usable info -- I'll be reading it several times. Thank you and those folks who were generous enough to share their experiences with you.

    I wrote reviews for a western historical romance site for several years. Not only did I enjoy reading books before they were released, I was reading the genre I wrote. There are a few reviewers whose opinion might sway mine ... but they are reviewers with blogs. I don't pay attention to the reviews at Amazon, etc., because most of the time I don't know who the reviewer is. The majority of the books I've read have been because of word-of-mouth or reviewers whose websites I'm familiar with ... which is actually a type of word-of-mouth, now that I think about it :-)

    Don't enter me in the drawing. My 'to be read' stacks are taking over.

    Thanks again!
    Nancy C

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  44. Good morning.

    I read reviews but not on books. This is bad, I know, but I don't read a lot of books. If I do, it's normally books by a favorite author or I pickup one at Walmart by browsing the backcovers. I don't have a kindle, just one on my laptop. If I buy from Amazon, I already know what book I'm looking for.

    I think I would read more reviews if I had a kindle.

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  45. I have a questions for those who post reviews. When the author/publisher sends you a copy of the book to review, does that put pressure on you to give more stars?

    Just curious.

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  46. No, what I mean is don't knock a book for not being what YOU expect it to be, anticipated it to be or felt it should have been. Review the book you read.

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  47. Sandra,
    I freely admit that I probably ought to read more reviews than I do before I buy a book, but I often splurge when gohastings has sales. I get my reviews from goodreads, and I have found them helpful.
    Dianna, how great for you to make your first sale!!!!! Congratulations!

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  48. Wow, Sandra! Thanks for the chance to get to know all these terrific bloggers better! I think reviews make a huge difference for writers. Just getting our name and books in front of their readership is awesome. Not that every review is great, but I've found book bloggers to be kind and thoughtful with their reviews. Thanks, Sandra, for this interesting post. And thanks to you reviewers for all you do to promote Christian fiction.

    Janet

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  49. Love, love, LOVE this post! I used to post more book reviews than I do now, but I want to get back to it. The reasoning of killing two birds -- I'm reading the book anyway so I might as well make the book do double duty by posting a review -- is brilliant. Just yesterday, Kathleen Y'Barbo sent me a digital copy of her new release, Hollywood, Texas, for review. So it's also a great way to help out great writers and friends. Thank you for all the inspiration and the links!

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  50. Vince, you are a huge encourager for romance writers! Your reviews are proof that you both respect the genre and see the qualities in romance novels that make them serious literature. So kudos for achieving your goals. Wishing you well with your own storytelling.

    Janet

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  51. Dianna, smiling like a ninny about your sale!!! Wishing you all the best with writing your novellas. Great idea to sign up for Speedbo!

    Janet

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  52. HI COURTNEY, Thanks for sharing your site with us.
    Always Reading Blog looks really great.

    Sure glad the book reviews help you shop. :)

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  53. Thanks NANCY, Glad you find this info useful. I was so amazed when Amber introduced me to all of these fine reviewers.

    Its interesting to find out how much reviews sway buying habits. Glad they help you.

    Happy reading.

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  54. Hi CONNIE QUEEN, Great question. I do receive books from publishers and for me personally it doesn't make me more inclined to give a good review. In fact, the opposite. I'm more inclined to be more diligent about the review since they have entrusted me with a copy of their book.


    Hopefully others will answer your question too. Its an interesting thought.

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  55. TINA roflol. I totally misread that comment.

    Glad you clarified. lol

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  56. I feel like I don't really fit in today--I have NEVER written a book review and hardly EVER read them! What is wrong with me?

    OK, I might have written a book review in college as part of my writing training, but not in a LOOONG time. I'm not sure why. Maybe because I almost always do my reading at night before I go to bed, and in the morning I'm ready for a fresh book? I will say that while I don't write reviews, I HAVE emailed several authors after reading books that I loved, just to tell them what I thought. I've met several Seekers that way, and it's how I got involved with ACFW and my local chapter.

    As for reading reviews, I read them on occasion when I'm buying online, but I buy a lot of my books second-hand, at library sales and Half Price Books. It's a cheap way to find new authors (usually between $.50 and $1). Often, if I enjoyed my new find, THEN I'll read some reviews of their other works to see if the one I enjoyed wasn't a fluke :)

    Some things to ponder here...

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  57. Great post, Sandra! Thanks so much for sharing info on these wonderful bloggers! It's nice to know our books are in the hands of readers who care so much.

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  58. Hi CRYSTAL, We are readers if we just buy books galore. chuckle. I could rarely get out of a bookstore without buying way too many books. But hey, they all looked great and if you love to read you just can't resist.

    Have to admit online shopping doesn't quite hit me the same way as browsing in a book store. My generation I guess. sigh

    Happy reading.

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  59. Yay, Dianna Shuford!!! Congrats on the sale!!!

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  60. Hi JANET, Isn't it fun to find all these reviewers who support us? I love it. And I enjoyed sharing their views.

    Happy reading. And happy writing you writer of "crystal clear prose" smiling

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  61. Hi MEGHAN, Thanks and so glad you like all the sites. Good for you for writing reviews also. And it does accomplish a lot. As VINCE pointed out, it helps a writer write better when they review other good writers.

    And we should be helping each other out. It ramps up our genre if we produce better writers.

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  62. Hi STEPHANIE QUEEN Great points to ponder. Thanks for your honesty. Reviews are not for everyone. We are all different so whatever works for you.

    But I think its sweet that you write authors and tell them you like their work. It is very encouraging for us because writing is usually pretty lonely one on one occupation. So feedback helps, esp positive feedback.

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  63. Hi MISSY, It is encouraging isn't it? I was so impressed by the quality, time and consideration these bloggers put into their reviews.

    Happy writing.

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  64. Thanks so much for posting about book reviews! I really appreciate the advice. I started my book review blog last year for the books I read from Netgalley, and it's been a learning experience! I always have to be careful to not give anything away while still expressing how I feel about the book. It's a balance between being vague and specific.

    I personally always read reviews on a book before I buy it, unless it's an author I know and love. My favorite place is goodreads.com because there's such a variety of reviews and it's not connected to a bookseller.

    Thanks for the giveaway! Here's the link to my blog:
    http://heidi-reads.blogspot.com

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  65. i've just realized i've never explored book reviewer blogs. that might explain my wimpy review posts on Amazon. i've a hard enough time staying focused with limiting my blog visits to Seekerville and the Inkwell (and stray news items that catch my eye *sigh*). considering how much i like books, i may have to stay away until i'm more disciplined with my writing. *double sigh*

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  66. Hi Sandra,

    Thanks for a great article! I just happen to be working on getting reviews for my books this week, so the timing is perfect. :)

    XXXOOO

    Ann

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  67. Thank you so much for featuring me, Sandra!! :D It was such an honor to be featured with all of these other lovely blogging ladies(and man)!

    I love Amazon dearly, but I find it creepy at how much they know. HOW can they know who has a personal relationship?!! I'd seen their new guidelines at some point last year, and knew that they were even taking some reviews down due to personal connections. Creepy, creepy! :P

    I saw the topic of titles earlier in the comments. I'm usually pretty lazy about the titles and just use the title of the book or product I'm reviewing. I can easily write a review, but trying to come up with a title shuts my brain down! ;)

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  68. Tina.

    That's a great line and it's something I had to learn:

    Review what you read, not what you wished you'd read.

    Because my cup of tea is different from others!!!! That's a great line!

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  69. Hello HEIDI, Thanks for sharing your site. Heidi Reads looks like a great site. I linked it here.

    I notice you have a link that says you belong to bloglovin. What is that? Can you explain for those of us who aren't aware of it? Thanks

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  70. DEB H you have to give a spew alert. That is tooooo funny.

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  71. Hi ANN LEE, Timing is always the thing isn't it?

    Happy writing.

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  72. HI BLUEROSE, Thanks for the advice on titles for review blogs. I hope KAV sees this.

    I think using the title of the book is a great idea as it will help the reader remember the title when they go to find the book after your review.

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  73. I've heard of Amazon rejecting reviews from people who are connected to the author but I've never seen an example of it. They know waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay to much about us.

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  74. Well RUTHY I'm glad you got it. My family has all kinds of jokes that explain why those kind of things go over my head.

    And NO I'm not going to share them. :)

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  75. An example of them knowing to much...I bought My Cowboy a pair of long plastic gloves which are medical because he has a view things he does to the cows that require sterile gloves.

    Ever since then I AM GETTING THE MOST AMAZING, SHOCKING AND SOMETIMES DISGUSTING ADS ON THE SIDES OF ALL MY WEBSITES So they know and they spread the word.

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  76. I MARY, I truly think its because AMBER has helped me through a lot of this and actually put my kindle books up there so maybe they connect her email addie or her computer with mine. I don't know. But yes, I agree with you and BLUEROSE. It is creepy that they know so much.

    But they do a lot of data collecting for sales info so I guess that is how they can so easily link whatever info they want.

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  77. MARY, MARY, MARY, Please give us a spew alert. My yummy coffee just went everywhere. You are tooooooo funny.

    At least they don't know that about me. lol

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  78. Sandra -
    Thank you so much for featuring i blog 4 books in your post today and allowing me to share how I got started in this book blogger world! It's a blessing to be able to help spread the word about so many great books, including yours!

    Brooke

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  79. Thanks BROOKE, I appreciate the compliment. You are toooooo sweet. smile

    Happy reading.

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  80. @Connie Queen -- I never feel pressure about writing positive reviews when it comes to getting books from publishers. Their sites often say to feel free to write that you didn't enjoy a book.

    If I get a book from someone I know, that's a different story. You want to be honest and help fellow book readers, but you don't want to lose friends either. I always think twice as long about what I'm writing in my posts when I'm reviewing for acquaintances and friends. Also, it's a delicate balance, you don't want to "gush" without giving reasons if you love a book and you don't want to "bash" without giving reasons either, neither of those reviews get taken seriously.

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  81. Thanks RENEE for answering CONNIE QUEEN'S question. You are so helpful. :)

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  82. God bless all the wonderful folks you mentioned, Sandra. Reviews are so important to writers...and readers.

    Sending hugs to Vince for his kind words.

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  83. Hi DEBBY, I knew you would be tickled. What a guy.

    Happy writing.

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  84. You're welcome, Sandra. I try to help wherever I can. :)

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  85. HI RACHELLE, Everyone is really enjoying your guidelines that are on your site.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Have a great day.

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  86. Hi Sandra:

    It seems there are as many reasons to review books as there are reviewers. What a great post! There are more insights here per hundred words than I believe I’ve ever encountered before.

    Amazon has reviewing rules? What if they see my picture? There could be a contest for guessing how many violations are in that one photo!

    BTW I just love the editing job you did on those ‘stream of consciousness’ responses I sent to answer your reviewing questions. Max would be proud of you as I am. In fact, both you and Tina really know how to make contributors look good!

    I also agree with Tina: I always review the book that is in front of me and give it all the stars it has earned here on earth; and yet, sometimes, I can’t help but look up to the heavens and imagine the glorious constellations that might have been. : )

    Thanks to all the kind people who left nice comments. The review of my reviews has made my day! (How nice it is to finally be able to say that!)

    Back to writing, writing, writing.

    I’m so sick of writing that I think I’ll get a day job that does not involve writing! It’s seems all I do any more is write and write and wait to hear if the writing already written still needs to be rewritten, rewritten, and rewritten.

    Gertrude Stein is Gertrude Stein is Gertrude Stein. And, Ben, I’d love to be able to stop and smell the roses.

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  87. I had no idea there were so many blogs with book reviews! Thanks so much for the great information. I'll have to start visiting them.

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  88. Hi, Sandra! Great post!

    Mid-post, I thought Sandra posted a gratuitous photo of Benedict Cumberbatch reading for our viewer enjoyment, and said to myself, Well that's awesome. Then after I realized the pic is Renee's profile pic, I thought, This, too, is awesome. ;)

    I review most books I read through Amazon.com and Goodreads.com.

    I haven't done many book reviews on my blog, simply because it seemed everyone else is. I guess we all add our unique perspective, though, to make it unique.

    This post makes me want to start reviewing on my blog. :) I read anyway, and if someone else could benefit from my take on a book, thus bringing traffic to my blog, it's win-win.

    I rely on book reviews heavily, especially when considering a general market book. One thing I look for is the theme or message that drives the story and content reviews. In Christian fiction reviews, I look for how the book impacted the reviewer emotionally and if they were able to immerse themselves in the story.

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  89. Thanks VINCE. Glad we made your day. And it was fun being Max for a change. smile

    You make our day all the time so back at you.

    Don't give up writing now. You are too good at it. Hang in there. Perist. Write write write.

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  90. I know CARA, isn't it amazing? And they are really great blogs. I love reading their reviews. So much insight.

    Happy writing.

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  91. Hi NATALIE, I'm so glad you write reviews for Amazon and Goodreads. Those reviews are so important for sales for the author. Amazon uses those reviews in deciding which books to promote. You know how when you order a book up comes a window that says "people who enjoyed this book also enjoyed...." and they show 4 or 5 books. Those books are selected based on reviews. The more five and four star reviews a book has the more likely they will be selected. And it doesn't seem to matter who published it. Its all in the stars.

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  92. This was fascinating!!

    I've read thousands of blog posts and maybe I'm behind the curve (or just getting old and senile), but I don't ever remember reading anything that told me WHY and HOW bloggers got started reviewing.

    LOVE.IT!

    And...I recognized a few names on there who've reviewed my books, so

    THANK YOU!

    You know who you are! :)

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  93. I saw big bold letters with EXCLAMATION MARKS so had to find the source of excitement...

    ****MoRe BoLd****

    CONGRATULATIONS, DIANNA!!!

    *********************************

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  94. Hi PAMj, Their stories are interesting. I agree. I enjoyed researching this. smile

    And isn't that wonderful news about DIANNA?

    YAY DIANNA. GO GIRl soooo whooooooo

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  95. Mary C said: Ever since then I AM GETTING THE MOST AMAZING, SHOCKING AND SOMETIMES DISGUSTING ADS ON THE SIDES OF ALL MY WEBSITES So they know and they spread the word.

    Uh huh. Now tell us what you really bought...

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  96. Loved seeing several of my friends in this post!
    I write reviews too and I got started through my sister who was too busy to maintain her review blog and let me take over it! This was such a fun post, thanks for the giveaway!

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  97. I think Vince has truly gone Over the Edge!

    ROFLOL

    PS. Vince, I SO get where you're coming from! Been there, done that, but it will be worth it in the end.

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  98. Stephanie, don't feel bad about not writing reviews. I'm right there with you. I rarely ever write reviews.

    Sometimes it's because I'm afraid I'll say too much, sometimes too little, and sometimes it's because...well...uh...I just didn't enjoy the book that much and I might possibly maybe sometime in this lifetime like ... uh ... know the author, so, bottom line...

    I'm a chicken.

    And maybe because I am a chicken, when I do attempt to perform such a feat, it takes me forever.

    I actually did write an endorsement for a book the other day, but it didn't come straight from the author, so I knew she couldn't like ... hunt me down if I didn't like the book.

    It took me almost as long to compose the endorsement (THREE sentences!) as it did to read the book!!!

    I need an intervention...

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  99. Oh, Sandra, WOW ... what an extensive and informative blog today, girl!!

    I had heard a while back that Amazon was going to crack down on authors posting reviews for other authors, but so far, I haven't had any problem with that, thank God, because I do think reviews are critical!

    I'm always impressed with these gals who start dynamo blogs (like every single one you mentioned!) because I personally found maintaining a blog very time-consuming and A LOT of work. This just shows their dedication to the written word and Christian fiction, in particular, which SO needs the service they are providing. It's a ministry, really, in my opinion, when bloggers review/support Christian fiction like they do.

    I am SO big on reviews and try to post them whenever I can if I like the book. Won't post them if I don't. :)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  100. They can do that? I had no idea!!
    Crazy talk. Wow. You taught me something new.

    Hi gals!!! :)

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  101. So awesome to see some of my blogging buddies featured today!

    Sandra, it's been so fun connecting you with these reviewers and working on projects together. I'll always be grateful you took a chance on me after reading my first guest post here on "Seekerville." :) You're a joy to work with! Thanks so much for featuring me and all these wonderful bloggers today!

    And I'm very sorry your rejection came because you were trying to review my book... :\ I do have your endorsement on the Amazon page, which is a big help! Thanks so much for the support of my writing and my business. :) *Hugs*

    ~Amber

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  102. PAM I don't think we better ask. We might not really want to know. LOL

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  103. HI ABBI, How interesting. I wish I had someone who would do that for me. smile How blessed your sister is.

    What is her site? We can post it here with the others.

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  104. Oh, and I wanted to clarify that my blog wasn't actually a university assignment, but one of my university professors (my bowling teacher, actually!) suggested I start a blog since I wanted to be a writer - so I took that thought and ran with it, never looking back! ;)

    ~Amber

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  105. PAMMERS you are really making me laugh today. You are tooooooo funny.

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  106. DIANNA!!! WHOO-HOO, GIRL, SUPER CONGRATS ON THE SALE!!!

    AND VINCE SAID: "Amazon has reviewing rules? What if they see my picture? There could be a contest for guessing how many violations are in that one photo!"

    LOL, gotta love those violations, eh? ;)

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  107. HI JULIE, You know more than any of us the importance of reviews. And I agree with you, that it is admirable how these reviewers have stepped up and promoted Christian fiction with their informative blogs and reviews. smiling

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  108. HI JUJU, I was stunned. Like you, I had no idea. And as others have said, it is a bit creepy that they know this.

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  109. Hi AMBER, I remember your post with us on Seekerville. It was like an answer to a prayer and that is exactly what you have been. You have been so helpful and instrumental in getting my name out there and helping me with the pubbing.

    Thank you.

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  110. Yes JULIE it is exciting about DIANNA isn't it? She was one of the first people to win one of my books when we first started our blog. And I met her in person last summer at RWA in Atlanta. That makes her super special to me. smile. I'm so excited for her.

    GOOOOO DIANNA

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  111. AMBER, Sorry I goofed that up. But I am so glad you ran with it. smile. A blessing for all of us.

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  112. SANDRA - Very true about everyone's personal preferences being different when it comes to books! I probably should have clarified I've only let negative reviews influence my decision to read a book if I was already kind of leaning in the direction that I might not like the book anyway...I hope you have a great day, too. :)

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  113. I love reading anything that Vince says.... His opinions just make me grin... and think.... and then grin again.

    MOSTLY!!!! :)

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  114. I am DYING TO TAKE THIS SCARF OFF BEFORE SOMEONE GETS THE NOTION TO STRANGLE ME WITH IT!!!!

    OUR 10 DAY FORECAST IS GREAT FOR DAVE CUTTING FIREWOOD....

    but nary a hint of warmth/spring/posies.

    So I wait. Wearing a scarf.

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  115. Tina I love your advice! I've noticed with a few books I've read lately that I wished the author would have taken it in a different direction- but I need to remember that it's not my book, and I'm along for the ride :)

    Bloglovin is a blog-reader website where you can follow your favorite blogs and read the daily feed of posts, without having to visit each site individually to see if there's new content. I personally use Feedly as my blogreader since it will show the content of the entire post; with bloglovin they only show one picture and the first few sentences, and you have to click to go to the actual website to view the entire post.

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  116. Hi JENNIFER, Thanks for clarifying. I think God likes variety. smile I heard that comment in a movie and have always loved it. smile

    I think we have an intuitive sense about things that is a gift. If we have suspicions about whether we will like a book, then we need to listen to those inner voices. They often help. Sounds like you listen to yours. smile Great going.

    Thanks for sharing with us today.

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  117. OH RUTHY. Strangling? What a great idea.
    oooops. I didn't mean that.

    I mean, lovely, darlin', would you like to come play in the warm desert? You won't need your scarf.

    But do it in the winter because ..... you know. JUst sayin'

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  118. Thanks HEIDI, Thanks for getting back to us with that information. Feedly sounds like a good idea. I think I'll look into it. I think I must be on some because I get emails saying so and so updated their blog. I really like getting that because those friends don't post all the time so I don't go check the site.

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  119. HI Sandra,
    This was an interesting and unique post. I was especially shocked to find out that Amazon is connecting authors with their private sphere of influence! Great post. Thanks!

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  120. Long day at work. Attended an AT/IT/UDL conference. (Don't you love the education acronyms?) It was great, but I ran my iPad down so I have to keep it short or else I may strangle myself on my charge cord.

    But I've enjoyed reading everyone's responses and rereading the blog post off and on today between educationese. It is a great post Sandra. A word on reviews. I love reading them when I'm considering buying a book. So for all of you who post them...keep it up. They work! I've done a few, but this is the first I'm hearing about guidelines.

    Thanks everyone on the congrats! I am excited and just a little apprehensive if I'm to be a bit honest. One day I'll have to get you guys to show me how to do the bold thing on blog responses. It's pretty cool.

    Sandra- I especially liked the luncheon at RWA when we sat next to each other, and it took us a minute to figure out we actually knew each other. **LOL** See what happens when you make it to Atlanta?

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  121. Hi LYNDEE, It is interesting isn't it? Although I've written reviews for many authors I know. How can you be an author and not know other authors? But this is the first time they have connected the dots. Like we said earlier, I think it has because Amber has helped me so much put out my kindle versions.

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  122. Hi DIANNA, Glad you could join us again. There are lots of congrats for you in the comments.

    For the bold thingy. Look underneath the box for comments and you will see HTML tags. So what you do before you want to put something in bold, you put the tag with the b in it. It has < this mark and then again > this mark. When you are done with the bold you put that in again but you put a slash in front of the b /b like that with the little arrows on each side. I can't type it because it won't let me so have to have all the words in between. Hope I haven't confused you. lol

    It was so much fun seeing you in Atlanta and sitting next to you and your friends at lunch. I loved it. It was a very special time. :)

    Congrats again

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  123. @Natalie Monk -- You probably already figured out since I was featured on this post that I love books, so when I discovered that little photo of Benedict reading a book, I just HAD to use it! The best of both worlds. ;-)

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  124. NATALIE and RENEE, I 'm so impressed. You both know a secret world. I bet you're tickled to recognize it. I'm smiling. It was over my head, but it tickles me no end.

    Thanks girls.

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  125. A Talent Print, Vince? You say the most interesting things.

    And Mark Twain is about my favorite so I am honored to be compared to him. God bless you.

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  126. Hi MARY, I thought that was pretty cool. smile

    And true.

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  127. Wow, checking in late! I didn't know this post went up today. :P

    It was an absolute pleasure to have you on my blog, Sandra!

    And I laughed at your review being yanked by Amazon. I've had that happen many times. It's hard to know when they'll do that.

    I also laughed because my sister and I have a tradition: she usually reads my book as I'm writing it. She's a beta reader and sort of an editor type. So, by the time it goes up on Amazon, she's read it several times. She always get the FIRST REVIEW. It's my little good luck charm, lol.

    They haven't yanked any of those yet, but I'm sure they might eventually figure out we're RELATED.

    But I understand it IS a serious issue when you have 40 reviews from friends and they're all five stars. You can tell which books have "real" reviews because they'll have a real spread from five star to one star. But if a book has a hundred reviews and most are five star with the lowest maybe a 3? Hm, that gives me pause.

    Ok, thanks again for being on my blog and wishing you the very best of luck!

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  128. HI VIRGINIA, sorry I thought I told everyone when I emailed back. sigh. But glad you found it. Your review was so encouraging to me and I really enjoyed being featured on your site. smile

    Have a super evening.

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  129. Oh VIRGINIA That is so funny about your sister. What a great tradition. SHHHHH I won't tell Amazon. smile.

    But it is interesting that you have had some reviews rejected also. Very strange that they can do that.

    Interesting take on reading reviews too. Thanks for sharing.

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  130. SANDRA-Our blog is called Christian Novels. It's still technically both of ours but I'm the only one whose done anything on i for the past two years.
    http://writingchristiannovels.blogspot.com/

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  131. I forgot to comment. Thanks for the link to my blog. I haven't posted as many reviews lately as reading has been lax but I hope to read more in the near future. Now the gall bladder is out and I am mostly recovered even the infection the headaches are back so will probably need to up the meds again.

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  132. Sandra, thanks for doing a post on our most unsung heros -- book reviewers! I've read blurbs and advertisements and have found them pointing me directly to the elements of a story the publisher wants me to see.

    Book reviewers READ THE BOOKS and share their opinions on the content as a whole.

    And whether they liked it or not...

    And hopefully, WHY!

    Thanks for mentioning so many sites to visits. Our book reviewers in Seekerville are the best!

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  133. WooHoo, Dianna! First sale!! Way to go!!!

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  134. Hi ABBI, What a great site. I love your list of ten authors you want to meet. If you go to an ACFW conference you would meet most of those authors. smile


    Here is your live link for Christian Novels

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  135. Hi JENNY, Glad to hear from you. I'm glad you are feeling better. We always enjoy hearing from you.

    Have a great day.

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  136. HI AUDRA, You make a point about the value of book reviews versus advertising.

    They are unsung heroes. smile Thanks for pointing that out.

    Happy writing.

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  137. And yes AUDRA. We are celebrating Dianna's sale.

    woooooo hooooooo again.

    Happy Dancing even this late at night.

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  138. Sandra-Thank you! Yeah I have long wanted to attend ACFW for just that reason!

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  139. HI ABBI, When you go, be sure and stay tuned to Seekerville because we all get together when we are there and meet each other face to face. It is so cool.

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  140. Well it has been a fun day here in Seekerville. I'm off to bed. I will check again in the morning in case there are more late night visitors.

    Thanks again everyone for joining us.
    You are so wonderful.
    Happy reading.
    Happy writing.
    Go Speedbo

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  141. I do read reviews, but I tend to rely on WOM from friends & family more. Similar tastes count for a great deal.

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  142. Great post, Sandra! You've highlighted some great info with some blogs new to me. I DO love Renne's blog as she's been a huge supporter and encourager from the first. She writes such truthful, savvy reviews and her passion for books shines through. Amber is another who is dear to me. The list goes on. Authors owe so much to bloggers and those who love books and have a heart to promote them.

    Like Renee said, the love of books unites us all and that's a wonderful thing!

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  143. HI MARY, I agree. WOM is wonderful and what is even better is when they lend you their books. smile

    Or you lend yours to them.

    Happy reading

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  144. HI LAURA, You are so right. We owe so much to the bloggers who present such wonderful reviews. Amber has been a great encouragement and help to me.

    Glad you could join us.

    Happy reading.

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